14 February 2009

I sympathize with the schools on this. Too often, schools are trying to deal with discipline issues, academic lack of progress and "etc." without the proper backup and reinforcement at home. It's a good argument against compulsory education, actually, because it keeps the other students behind when the teacher has to constantly deal with "stuff" and is not able to get things straightened out with parents. It sounds sappy, but there IS a REASONABLE amount of partnership that should be going on. Do you want the school to help you when your child is bullied? Then if you receive word that your child is bullying, do your *best* to stop it and impose some consequences at home. But to *require* parents to show up at the school at a certain time, and subject them to fines if they don't show up, is a bit over the top. Imagine if I were a single parent... Patrick and G's school has one side entrance that is stroller-accessible (everything else is stairs up a STEEP hill), but it's LOCKED and opens only from the inside. Here I am, I've just busted my hand and have a nearly impossible time doing anything or bringing ALL the children out. My younger autistic children? Good luck finding a reliable, safe babysitter on my budget. And do you think I can afford the $200 fee per child if I don't show up for a second missed conference? I guess my at least twice weekly email and phone calls with the school aren't good enough for this legislator who wants to "begin a conversation" about parental involvement. I don't feel like "talking" with clowns like this. I hope the voters hand him his butt on a platter in the next election, God bless 'im.


  1. For some reason, I can't seem to embed this video. When I embed videos, I can't separate paragraphs.

    OK, this post looks a mess. :[

  2. Actually I'm not with schools on this one at all. You have a kid in a classroom for the better part of 8 hours, are seeing more of him than mum & dad do, instruct them in humanism & then expect me to help you out with this. Pardon? The kid's clothed, equipped, fed & at school on time but *no~one* can make a kid learn who doesn't want to so fineing people for being smart enough to know this & not want to waste the time being told stuff they already know, that's insane. But hey, I don't believe in homework even in high school. If you can't teach a kid what they need to know when you have all that time available then something is very wrong.

    I shouldn't even start. I know many wonderful teachers but the system is screwed.

  3. I can understand where the school people are coming from in that they *want* parent participation in these conferences.

    FINE! Make it required if you want to, but make education NOT required. At all. It's a privilege. You'd weed out the people who don't want to be there. And I wish they'd stop compelling me to fund it while they're at it.

    I can really understand that the teachers want parents who are "with the program" and are supportive of school rules at home. It makes for a much nicer working environment for the teacher.

    You know how to do that? Quit REQUIRING the parents to send their children or educate them at all. Then, you'll only get the parents and kids who WANT to participate in the system. Then, you can put any fine in there and be as unreasonable as you want to be. You could make the fine $2,000 for all I care.

    Hey, if you want to opt IN to it, you can join any kind of school or club you want to. The rules can be as silly or strict as you want them to be.

    Good grief. Just checked out this guy's website and he claims to be a "100 percent pro-life Republican." He has GOT to be kidding.

  4. This bugs me more because it says that the government should be involved making sure parents prioritize their kids education.

    The other thing that bugs me is, if the goal is parental involvement, I don't think that attending a parent-teacher conference is an appropriate measure of whether the parent is involved or not. When Marissa was in public school, the school scheduled regular conferences once a year -- usually at the end of the first semester. Does attending or not attending this meeting count more than say reading with your child, helping the child with their homework or creating a rich home environment where education and learning is a way of life?

    Last, I have been subjected to coercion to comply with meetings and it is not a way to build warm, fuzzy relationships between the parents an the school. When Marissa first moved in with me, I was at the school for "planning meetings" all the time -- every 2-4 weeks. These were similar to IEP meetings, but Marissa had yet to qualify for an IEP. Her school behavior was not anywhere near appropriate. I rearranged my work schedule all the time to participate in these pre-planned meetings. They didn't bother me. I figured they were part of what I signed up for when I adopted a child with an already existing "behavioral disorder." What bothered me a lot was that the school had a "Step Program" that was designed to force parents to be involved in school discipline problems. There were "5 levels" of discipline. If Marissa got to level 4, she was placed in in-school suspension until I met with her and her teacher. I was required to be at the school before the end of the school day. If I was not, Marissa got out of school suspension (Step 5) and could not return to school until I had cooperated. Now, if I were a SAHM this might not be a problem. But, I was working at the time and I didn't have child care for during school hours. So, whenever Marissa got a Step 4 I had to drop everything and go to the school. ASAP.

    One week, a particularly bad week, Marissa had three Step 4 Conferences. Luckily, I was working as a salaried and not an hourly employee. I was a consultant so if I wasn't on campus, no one had to cover my position. If I had been working as a staff RN, these meetings would be nearly impossible. I would have had to call all over to find another nurse who was willing to drop what she (or he) was doing on their day off to come in and take care of my patients while I left the hospital.

    Anyway, by the end of the week, I wanted to tell the teacher, "You know, I am having trouble in the evening with Marissa too. So, tonight when she is misbehaving, I will just call you over and have you help me deal with her. You can write your home phone number on this piece of papar" Or... "I am sorry Marissa isn't doing her class work during the day. I am sure it is disruptive when she is refusing to work. But, unless I can send Marissa to school with a basket of laundry she refused to fold while at home, I really cannot continue to oversee so much class work at home. We simply will not do more then 20 minutes of homework. She is, after all, only in first grade."

    I did have the good sense to keep my mouth shut. You know... If you don't have anything nice to say ~


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